What is Worldview?
Ilove to take drives in the fall. I often steal away a late evening and drive with the deep azure sky above, full moon to my back, and the rows of wheat divided by the road ahead of me. The brisk air and dashes of autumn color palettes fill my senses to overflowing. I am delighted when I see monster machines lumbering on the rolling horizon. Maybe it’s the little boy in me, but every running combine in those golden wheat fields entrances my imagination. I envision barn loads brimming with overflowing abundance. The smell of newly mown farmland saturates my senses like a rare-brewed and delicious cup of piping hot coffee. I take it in like a slow-motion camera: the glow of a sunset, the rhythm of flywheels, the dust in the air, and lumbering machinery creeping as ants across the plain. But after satiating my senses with the harvest, I need to stand back from my overindulgence and understand a simple but powerful lesson: in order for me to enjoy the harvest, someone acted upon their worldview.
If it wasn’t for a farmer who saw potential in a dismal brown and dirty field last fall, I would not be able to enjoy my ride in autumn. My thrill is totally pinned upon the farmer and his worldview. You see, if he didn’t envision his barns full at October harvest moon, he wouldn’t have prepared and planted for such an occasion. What I enjoy now is what a farmer saw then. Worldview has a powerful impact on the farmer, and also here at Classical Christian Academy. Let me explain.
In defining my terms, we first must ask, “What is worldview?” With much confusion over perspectives and worldview definitions, I will prioritize what it is, and what it isn’t. Worldview is not a person’s feelings or an assertion of their personality. It is not divulging of what they think is, or is to be, which constitutes worldview. Some pundits have blurred the definition into contorting worldview as opinion. That simply is not so. We all have been bestowed different talents and abilities for relating our innermost thoughts by God. We all relate our innermost ponderings through ideas and questions, and communicate those longings through many tools of expression. However, personal experiences backing up opinion is shallow, and not worldview. These cacophonies are distant echoes of expression, not structures of definition. Let’s go deeper.
Charles Colson said concerning worldview, “It is the sum total of our beliefs about the world.” James Sire added, “It is a set of presuppositions about the basic makeup of our world.” I would agree with these definitions and add that it is a grid, a framework, a reference constructed by each person as they interact and interface the world. Our behaviors proportionately respond in reference to this grid. Going back to my illustration, that is why the farmer farms. He foresees a grand result of his efforts. This is also why teachers teach; they have sown the seeds of a Biblical Worldview, and the end result will be students knowing and growing in Biblical truth.
C.S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” We, as teachers, take this position as sacrosanct, and patiently plant God’s truth into the hearts and minds of our students here at CCA. Worldview is more than core values. It is a sequence of responses by students rooted to reference the world and its workings by God’s design. Reality comes from God, and not from man. Biblical Worldview is the reference by which all interactions with the outside world show consistency and reliability. It is therefore upon this foundation by which students will build relationships, behavior, and lifetime skills. Out of Biblical Worldview each student will find meaning, comfort, joy, strength and peace. This is the world God offers us, even through the brokenness of sin which masks and confuses God’s revealed truths. Heaven can, and does come down to those who see, understand, and receive Jesus as the source, origin, and answer to the plight of humanity. Only through a Biblical Worldview can we go beyond our selfish instincts to survive: we can thrive! As Paul states in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Classical Education – Three Parts to a Whole
Our strategy at CCA is simple. Our goal is to plant, invest and instill into these precious students God’s Truth and the wisdom of academic and spiritual understanding. There are many integral parts of building Biblical Worldview, some of which I will highlight here. A portion consists of a formal construct of learning, grammar structure, and memorization. Other parts reference their personal worldview of which I call “worth-view.” Throughout a student’s daily experience, our purpose and positions as teachers is to show, radiate, demonstrate and communicate God’s love and encourage them to model the same. Personal worldview is caught rather than taught. As Paul recommends, “Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11). This is our position and our passion, evidenced in the CCA Portrait of a Graduate and Mission Statement.
How do we achieve such pedagogy? Here at CCA we equip students to learn through three phases.
Phase One: Grammar Stage (approximate ages 4-11)
They are young, excited, and want to experience everything around them! They enjoy this world, and others they create, with vivid imagination and energy. Using stories from the Bible, young students engage with the Biblical Worldview on a tactile level. The goal? Let them know that God made this world and it is good. Moreover, He made them and they are special and loved. As they move through these lessons and activities, which give them an appreciation of the real and spiritual world God has made, they draw towards an awareness of a personal relationship with the Creator God and His Son, Jesus Christ. All lessons are pinned, with all senses, to interface God and His creation.
Phase Two: Logic Stage (approximate ages 12-14)
Now students are growing into another phase of wanting to know not only how things work, but why. They want to know “behind the scenes” facts and learn better through charts, maps, diagrams and challenges. The goal in this stage is to lead them in discussions of discovery. Equipping them through a series of interacting questions, they begin to grasp a deeper sense of God and the world He has made. They begin to understand purpose, meaning, and the motive of God to design this world; and what, in turn, we have done in response to His creation. Their perceptions build a “worth-view” as they formulate a Biblical Worldview construct consistent with the scriptures and adventures in learning.
Phase Three: Rhetoric Stage (approximate ages 15-18)
Students move into taking responsibility for learning to a new level. They are concerned with present events, and have a particular inclination for fairness, justice, equality and ideologies. Now they take on independent work, synthesizing and organizing knowledge to express and defend their own individual feelings and ideas. Learning now is sharpened through presentations, case studies, debates and speeches. Academia focuses not only on their personal positions, but how Biblical Worldview is the fulcrum in all aspects of life and living. Preparing for real encounters beyond the school doors, they discover real answers and the means to walk with God and thrive in a dying world.
Farmation as a Teacher
As much as I love looking at a field of grain during the harvest moon, I adore more the faces of students within my classroom. Like the farmer, I am expecting something. But more than the bounty of a season, my eyes peer beyond to see the bounty of lifetimes. For the aim is not momentary, but eternal. Biblical Worldview gives the perspective from heaven to earth, not earth to heaven. Moreover, classical learning equips a student with tools for learning as they encounter life until they see Jesus face-to-face.
And because of this particular learning bent, I do specifically take note that Biblical Worldview is not only an intellectual quest but a spiritual one as well. Odd as it may seem, I think myself more as a farmer, like Paul. For it is he, a church planter, who said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). So “farmation” is as old as the Scriptures, but also fresh and new as seeds are planted, and God gives the increase. This underpinning model is the parable of the sower of the seed in Mark chapter 4. My diligence, then, equips these students to have bountiful lives and “fruit” that abounds more than any earthly source.
Biblical Worldview is “farmation” sprinkled with expectation, handled with optimism, and delivered in love. It becomes our life’s work. Day in and day out, lessons learned and grades earned, we yearn for that James says in chapter 5 verse 7, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”
Maybe I need overalls and gloves in my classroom instead of a nice shirt and tie.
Mr. Thompson is a pastor of over 25 years, and has taught at CCA since 2010. He currently teaches Bible, Apologetic, Philosophy, and Drama.